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Hot off the heels of my M2010 Go Infinite experiment, M2011 was released – I went 9-0-1 in two pre-release events I attended (Sealed Deck), so decided to continue onward to see the viability of Going Infinite with Magic Online. I modified my methods a bit, but I still planned on doing 15 drafts, 5 each of Swiss, 4-3-2-2, and 8-4.

For purposes of continuity and natural progression, I decided to do all 5 swiss drafts first, then the 4-3-2-2, then the 8-4. This makes far more sense, gives me good experience with the format and gives me the best chance to figure out some nuances before I throw myself into the 8-4 fire. I did not take as detailed match by match analysis as I did the the M2010 matches, but here are my results:

M11 – Swiss – 5 Rounds.
Packs Won: 8 (3 wins 1x, 2 wins 2x, 1 win 1x, 0 wins 1x) I should note the 0 win round was as a result of me trying a Jace’s Erasure/Tome Scour/Jace deck. ūüôā
Singles of value: Jace, Foil Jace, Conundrum Sphinx x2, Phylactery Lich x2, Nantuko Shade x2, Temple Bell x2, Foil Rootbound Crag. Total value: 17.
Cost – 70. Value: 49. Total -21.

M11 – 4-3-2-2 – 5 Rounds

Packs Won: 8 (2 2nd place, 1 2nd round loss 2 1st round losses) One of first round losses was due to heavy mana flood.
Singles of Value: Sword, Grave Titan, Nantuko Shade, Garruk, Plat Angel. Total Value: 16.
Cost – 70. Value: 48. Total -22.

M11 Р 8-4 Р5 Rounds

Packs Won: 14 (One victory, one split) 2nd Round Loss to B/R perfect draw.deck, and a first round loss to a W/B heavy removal deck. Ironically, the tourney I won and offered to split was with perhaps my weakest of the 5 rounds. The tourney I split, I offered the draw, my opponent accepted but we decided to play for fun, and I smoked him. My other 2nd round loss was again due to heavy mana flooding in both of my game losses, as well as a play error on my part.

SIDE RANT: In this loss, with 25 cards remaining in my deck, I had drawn 8 out of my 9 plains. I know this happens to a lot of people, and that’s my point – It seems to happen with absurd frequency. The odds against such an occurance are pretty high, the odds of it happening so often ¬†make me raise my eyebrows. The deck I lost against was absolutely awful.

Singles of Value: Sword of Veng, Fauna Shaman, Dragonskull Summit, Ajani Goldmane x2,  Conundrum Sphix, and Temple Bell. Total Value: 16

Cost: 70. Value:  72. +2.

Swiss –¬†Cost – 70. Value: 49. Total -21.

4-3-2-2 –¬†Cost – 70. Value: 48. Total -22.
8-4 –¬†Cost: 70. Value: ¬†72. +2.
Totals: Cost 210, Value: 169. -41.

Conclusions –

1. A total loss of $41, which got me 15 drafts worth of entertainment value, play sets of commons and pretty close to playsets of uncommons, as well as some trash rares. Again, if you break this down by entertainment value, at an average of 1.5 hours per draft, this looks to be a little over $1 per hour of entertainment. Compared again to other popular entertainment activities, this is pretty good.

2. The Nix Tix thing makes a big difference. 15 drafts costs 30 in tix – Take that away my loss goes from $41 to $11.

3. I only opened one real “Chase Rare” – The Grave Titan. This however leads to a larger problem with M2011 in general, and that the NON Mythic rares are all worth jack and shit. The dual lands, birds of paradise and other reprints have all plummeted in value from 2 to 1 due to flood in the market, and none of the other rares except for Fauna Shaman and Obs Baloth are really making any splash. In fact, even the “Chase” cards – Grave Titan, Primeval Titan and Baneslayer seem to be the only ones holding any value. This lack of singles value makes M2011 (much like ROE) an unattractive choice for drafters because you’re basically playing pack lottery and hoping to get your 3 in 120 chance of one of the above 3 cards, and the math just doesn’t add up. Cards like Earthquake and Siege Gang which were selling for 2-3 are gone, and nothing has really replaced them. A couple cards I EXPECTED to do well, Day of Judgement, Reverberate and Mitotic Slime aren’t worth anything. I do feel Phylactery Lich and Steel Overseer may have their value increased with the next block (Artifact heavy) but the market will be loaded with them by the time this happen. The Mythics being the only cards worth anything effect I think is going to continue to have a negative impact on the game.

4. I “won” 2 out of 5 drafts. Perhaps the very best players can expect to do this, if you are of decent or average skill, the basic math means you’ll make it to the finals 1 in 4. I do not expect to split 2 out of every 5 drafts I do, if I could and did, I would in fact be able to “go infinite”. This is hard to do. Some people argue against splitting. If your deck is good and you have an edge, always play, they say. Personally, I’d rather avoid the variance, save myself the 30 minutes, and move on to other things.

So, I feel for $41 I got plenty of play value, filled out my commons and uncommon playsets, (or close to it) and performed as well as can be expected. However, I think those that have the patience to wait should participate in the “Premier Drafts” – Yes, these cost 4 tickets instead of 2, but if you get just one win, you get 2 packs, if you get 2, you get 4 (so you’re paid for) and if you go 3-0 you get at least 6 packs plus an additional free draft. Obviously they won’t do them forever, and it’s probably not feasible for someone to play in 15 (especially since they fill up fast) but I will definitely replace my 8-4 drafts with these when the next set is released.

I feel like my play was much better this go around, and I was more consistent. Other than my fun Millstone experiment in swiss, I drafted stronger and better, raredrafted less, (there’s no reason to now) and played better. I definitely liked my choice to go up the steps ladder in the proper increments, I feel it made a big difference. I didn’t quite go infinite, but I went pretty cheap, and that’s not bad.

About the format – Blue is absolutely the dominant color. It pairs well with everything due to scry, bounce and removal as well as some decent critters. You see a lot of Blue/W and U/B, but given the right cards U/R and U/G can both win. Similarly, R/G and G/W can do well also. B/W can be strong, I feel in general B/R and W/R should be avoided – though I am sure like always, the right cards make it work.

My next post will have to do with some ideas for revamping the Mulligan rules, something that needs to happen badly. Stay tuned.

-LAG

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